Living With Dogs As A Toddler May Protect Against Crohn’s Disease As An Adult

Baby girl sitting on floor playing with family pet dog, child friendly border collie

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A recent study shows that living with a dog as a toddler can decrease the risk of that child developing Crohn’s disease later in life.

Because this disease is chronic, understanding how to prevent its onset is beneficial.


Having a family dog is a great way to teach responsibility, create memories, and have a lot of extra love in the house. If your pup can do all of this and help prevent the onset of an incurable disease, there’s really no reason not to have a dog!

What Is Crohn’s Disease?

Crohn’s disease is an inflammatory bowel disorder. It isn’t curable, but those afflicted can undergo treatment to minimize the symptoms of the disease.

People living with Crohn’s have varying severities of this illness. Common symptoms include abdominal pain, diarrhea, anemia, and other intestinal-related issues.

At its worst, Crohn’s has been linked to an increased risk of developing colon cancer.

How Do Dogs Protect Against Crohn’s?

Little boy hugging and showing affection and love for his best friend, a cuddly golden retriever.

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Let’s be honest: dogs are dirty. Your pup doesn’t wash their paws every time they come into the house or brush their teeth twice a day. Germs love your dog, and some dogs love germs.

Thankfully, this isn’t a bad thing. Dogs have different bathing needs than we humans do. So, naturally, they harbor more bacteria on their bodies and in their mouths.

If your pup has ever given you a lick on your mouth, you know just how nasty their breath can be. Dogs’ mouths house bacteria that children aren’t typically exposed to in day-to-day contact with humans.

The study theorizes that this extra bacteria may allow for a healthier gut with “good” bacteria, thus lowering the chances of an individual being diagnosed with Crohn’s disease. Interestingly, the study didn’t find any conclusive evidence to suggest that cats have the same effect.

What do you think about dogs potentially preventing a common disease? How else do you think kids benefit from having dogs in their lives? Let us know in the comments below!